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Low Incidence of Alcohol Use Allows for Reduced Testing Rate

January 13, 1998

January 13, 1998

A low rate of alcohol use by interstate truck and bus drivers, coupled with industry promotion of alcohol-free driving, led the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today to reduce the random alcohol testing rate for this year to 10 percent of all drivers. The industry-wide requirement previously was 25 percent of all drivers.

"The trucking and bus industries and their individual drivers are to be saluted for avoiding drinking and driving," FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "Because of the record they've established, reducing the alcohol testing rate will not diminish safe operation of commercial motor vehicles."

The alcohol testing "violation" rate was just 0.18 of all drivers tested in 1996, the FHWA said. Because the violation rate was below 0.5 percent for two consecutive years, the testing regulations specify that the testing rate may be lowered. Commercial drivers who violate these strict alcohol regulations can lose their commercial driver's license if they register a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or more or if they refuse to test.

No change is being made to the testing rate for illegal drugs, which remains at 50 percent of all drivers. The positive rate of violators using these controlled substances must drop below 1 percent for two consecutive years before the FHWA can reduce the testing rate to 25 percent. The rate for positive tests was 2.8 percent in 1995 and 2.2 percent in 1996.

If the alcohol testing violation rate goes above 0.5 percent in the future, the FHWA can increase the rate of random testing.

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Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014